Although it doesn’t show up in the list of available accounts when Windows 7 boots up, every installation of Microsoft’s newest operating system by default has an administrator account built in.
Unfortunately, this administrator account can be a major security risk for users of Windows 7 Home Premium, Professional, and Ultimate editions. Learn how to take control and secure the administrator account in Windows 7.
An Administrator Account vs. The Administrator Account
If you are a casual user of Windows 7, you may not know that there is a difference between being an administrator and being the administrator. It is possible to set up any user in Windows 7 to be an administrator but there is an administrator account that Windows sets up automatically when it is first installed.
There are two problems with this feature of the operating system. First, by default, the administrator account does not show up in the list of available accounts when Windows 7 boots up. This is why so many people do not know that the account even exists.
Second, there is no password set for the administrator account. These two issues combine to create a moderate to major security risk depending on how you use Windows. Read on learn how to activate the administrator account and password protect it to make your computer more secure.
Activating the Administrator Account in Windows 7
Although there are several ways to activate the administrator account with clicks of the mouse, here is an alternative method often used by IT professionals who are familiar with the net framework command prompt method of administration.
Begin by clicking on Start>All Programs>Accessories and then right-click on Command Prompt. Choose Run as Administrator from the menu that pops up.
When the command prompt opens, type the following line:
net users administrator /active:yes
Press Enter and Windows should then tell you below the command you just typed that The Command Completed Successfully.
Secure the Administrator Account
Log off the current account and notice that the administrator account is now available in the list of accounts in Windows 7. Click on the administrator account. Now we need to password protect it.
Click on Start>Control Panel>User Accounts. Then, click on User Accounts and Family Safety and then Change Your Windows Password. Don’t worry that your administrator account doesn’t yet have a password. You just have to click on this link to create one even though you haven’t specified one yet.
Click on Create a Password for Your Account. This is where you create your password and verify by typing it again.
Be very careful that you don’t have Caps Lock on or you may type a password you didn’t intend to use. Also, since this account will not be used often consider storing this password some place safe so it is available if you need it. When finished, click on the Create Password button and log out of this account.
Deactivate the Administrator Account
Since there is really no reason to have the administrator account show up in the list of available accounts when Windows boots up, it is good practice to deactivate the account.
Log back into any other administrator account and open up the Command Prompt just as you did above. Now type the following line:
net users administrator /active:no
Notice that this is the same command you typed before expect now the last word is “no” instead of “yes.” Once again, you should get the message that The Command Completed Successfully. Log off this account and notice that the administrator account is no longer listed.
Microsoft’s handling of the administrator account in Windows 7 may seem strange but it learned its lesson from previous releases of Windows. Some users of the operating system were accidently deleting all of the administrator accounts.
Since you need an administrator account to create an administrator account, some people lost all of their data. Although there are some methods to repairing a Windows installation with no administrator account, Microsoft probably thought it would be easier to create an admin account, deactivate it, and not force the user to create a password for it.